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Frye Gaillard, A Hard Rain: America in the 1960’s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost

Saturday, January 19   |   2:00 pm

Frye Gaillard has given us a deeply personal history, bringing his keen storyteller’s eye to this pivotal time in American life. He explores the competing story arcs of tragedy and hope through the political and social movements of the times ― civil rights, black power, women’s liberation, the War in Vietnam, and the protests against it. But he also examines the cultural manifestations of change ― music, literature, art, religion, and science ― and so we meet not only the Brothers Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, but also Gloria Steinem, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Harper Lee, Mister Rogers, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Billy Graham, Thomas Merton, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, Angela Davis, Barry Goldwater, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Berrigan Brothers.

“There are many different ways to remember the sixties,” Gaillard writes, “and this is mine. There was in these years the sense of a steady unfolding of time, as if history were on a forced march, and the changes spread to every corner of our lives. As future generations debate the meaning of the decade, I hope to offer a sense of how it felt to have lived it. A Hard Rain is one writer’s reconstruction and remembrance of a transcendent era ― one that, for better or worse, lives with us still.”

Frye Gaillard is an award-winning journalist with over 20 published works on Southern history and culture, including Watermelon Wine; Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America; The Books That Mattered: A Reader’s Memoir; Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and A Southern Family’s Civil War Letters; and, most recently, Go South to Freedom. Writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama, he is also John Egerton Scholar in Residence at the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Missisippi. He is the winner of the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction Writing, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award For Distinction in Literary Scholarship.